Ladies and Gentlemen: Welcome to the Press Conference for the top three in Race 1 at Silverstone. Firstly race winner Antonio Felix Da Costa (Carlin), Mitch Evans (MW Arden) and Aaro Vainio (Lotus GP).
GP3 Series: Congratulations on your win and the first for Carlin in GP3!
Antonio Felix Da Costa: My jump in the start wasn’t even that great, with the conditions, I tried a different method in the race, once I got the traction down it was ok. It was just my reactions were not so good. With the tricky conditions it’s always hard if you are the first to arrive, obviously Mitch was leading for the first three corners. I could take him as a reference, so it was easy for me to stay close to him. We attacked hard in turn 2 and 3 and I got by and after that it was the opposite and he was following me. I had new tyres and he didn’t. I made a mistake and then I thought ok now I push. At one point I was just pulling away, the car was so easy to drive. The team did a great job today. I think with this track it’s very common, when you come from qualifying you understeer a lot. I had it last year but we tried to avoid it this time. We worked a lot on the car so as not to have that in the race. When I was in the lead, not having to follow anyone, it just helped me more. To be honest the hardest thing was to keep the car on the dry line as there was only one.
GP3 Series: Was it an easy race out there after the first lap or two?
Antonio: Well the first few laps weren’t, the track was especially tricky. I wanted to pull away but I knew if I tried too hard I would go wide, especially at a few corners it was very wet, so I just wanted to calm down. I just took it easy and then Mitch made a mistake at some point and I was able to pull away. I had good tyres, I was going quicker and quicker as the track was drying up. At the end I still had the grip with the tyres so I went for it and got the fastest lap.
GP3 Series: You have had an almost perfect start to your weekend, how do you feel after the bad luck you have had in some of your previous races?
Antonio: I don’t believe in bad luck because I think you create your own luck. If I jump the start in Barcelona, that was my own fault, if we make a mistake in Qualifying in Valencia, it was our fault. So it’s not just bad luck. We have really proved our speed today, like we did in Valencia when we came from last to 8th. This weekend, Free Practice we were P1, Qualifying third and today we win. So we came back from a bad weekend. We just need to find a bit more time in qualifying because at the minute, Mitch is on it! There are a few tenths we still need to find but after that I think we will be alright. I really still think I am in the fight with this championship. I have now moved up to third in the standings and next race is just after halfway point so there’s still many points to take.
GP3 Series: How important is this result for Carlin as a whole?
Antonio: I think they have been close. This year I could have won for Carlin in Barcelona when I started on pole but I got a drive through penalty. But today we finally did it. We went for a full push, the team is very happy and so am I. To beat a guy like from Mitch from pole was always going to be hard so I am really pleased. With this team, last year I was looking around for somewhere and because I have driven with Carlin before I knew this was the team I wanted to be with. It’s just like a big family. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, so it’s such a good feeling to be here at Carlin.
GP3 Series: Congratulations with P2, were you hoping for a bit more? And tell us about the first lap with Felix Da Costa?
Mitch Evans: I think Antonio summed everything up. I think we got the maximum out of our race. I was obviously a bit of a guinea pig at the start and Antonio got close. When we entered turn 3, I wasn’t sure what to do as one line was dry, one was wet. Antonio attacked and it paid off for him and we ended up having a bit of a ding-dong into Brooklands and Luffield and it nearly came out well for me but he was able to push on through which is fair enough. For the first few laps I on him and was feeling good. When we got to the midway point the tyres started to go off massively. We thought the track was going to be worse than it was, it dried out much faster than we thought. That really hurt us. We just used a new set from qualifying, not a brand new set. In those conditions it can be quite tricky to get temperature into a new set. We made that call and today it didn’t pay off, it was too dry. I was happy with the result even though I would have liked to have been first.
GP3 Series: With pole position, P2 and finishing ahead of Aaro, you have extended your lead in the championship?
Mitch: Yes exactly. That’s one of my main goals every weekend so I can’t complain after today’s result, we got some really good points today.
GP3 Series: P3 today, tell us about your start?
Aaro: I think my reaction was very good at the start but then after a few seconds I got lots of wheelspin. Antonio was able to pass me and I was lucky to be able to keep Laine and Abt behind me. I think they may have touched at the first corner so I was able to maintain my place. Obviously then Antonio and Mitch were already starting to pull away. From the start of the race I felt pretty quick. Lap 2 or 3 I went up a kerb and ended up with dirty water all over me and lost some time. Halfway through the race I was closing the gap on Mitch and then I went slightly wide which lost me time so I was around 5 seconds further back. The pace in the car was good, I tried so hard at the end to get the fastest lap but Antonio was able to get it. I am a bit more disappointed with the result because I know the pace is there. If I hadn’t have made those mistakes it could have been really good.
GP3 Series: How were the conditions out there?
Aaro: I’ve always liked these conditions, coming from Finland I think it’s quite normal! (He laughs). I pushed really hard even though I knew it would be difficult on the tyres but I tried my best. I just went slightly too quick at one time and made a mistake.
GP3 Series: How were your tyres today?
Aaro: I think in the last few laps they started to have a small drop-off. I think the track was getting better and better in the first ten laps. But generally there was not a big problem with the tyres.
GP3 Series: You have a good chance tomorrow to claim back some more points, what are your expectations for Race 2?
Aaro: We just have to see what the weather brings. If it’s dry then I know the pace is there. I need a good, clean race and to make sure I finish ahead of Mitch to claw back some points.